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Archive for the tag “guardianship”

Defamation Suit Dismissed Under Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In In re Alief Vietnamese Alliance Church and Phan Phung Hung, (TX App., April 30, 2019), a Texas state appellate court held that a defamation claim by a church’s former interim pastor, Paul Nguyen, against the Church and its senior pastor Phan Phung Hung should be dismissed under the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine.  At issue were statements by Hung that Nguyen had committed adultery with a female church member. In a 2-1 decision, the majority said in part:

We conclude that Hung’s allegedly defamatory statements are … “inextricably intertwined” with matters relating to an internal struggle between a current and former leader of the Church over Church governance, the standard of morals required of leaders of the Church, and the reason for Nguyen’s leaving or being expelled from the Church….

Even if there is a dispute over Hung’s motivation in making the statements—either as part of a disciplinary procedure due to the alleged adultery or merely out of vindictiveness towards Nguyen, who had criticized Hung’s pastoring decisions—these statements were made in the context of expelling a member and former leader of the Church, or, alternatively, the Church member’s voluntarily quitting his leadership positions and quitting the Church—and then refusing to meet with Church leadership to resolve the dispute—either version of which is inherently an ecclesiastical concern as a matter of law.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Family Law Tip: Inheritance and Child Support

I post some tips regarding family to my Linkedin page (see here) from time to time, and I thought I should start sharing them here too.  Below is one of my family law tips, and you can read my articles on family law here and other posts on family law here and all are cataloged here.

Flight Attendants are Fighting a Culture of Harassment at American Airlines

The Melissa Chinery and Laura Medlin cases against American Airlines, cases currently being litigated by my firm, the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C., have been featured in an article entitled “Flight Attendants are Fighting a Culture of Harassment at American Airlines,” in Ms. Magazine b published on November 26, 2018, which can be found here.

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There’s little that female candidates for public office can do when men post vile and harassing messages about them on social media. But when flight attendant Melissa Chinery’s male co-workers took to Facebook to make offensive and threatening comments about her when she ran to be president of the flight attendants’ union, she filed a sexual harassment grievance with her employer.

Instead of disciplining her harassers, however, American Airlines promoted them.

Two flight attendants have filed a lawsuit against American Airlines for fostering a culture of sexist online harassment among employees. (Kristoffer Trolle / Creative Commons)

Chinery and fellow AA flight attendant Laura Medlin have filed sexual harassment lawsuits against the airline for failing to respond to their complaints about male co-workers posting hundreds of derogatory messages about them on social media work group pages. They allege that male co-workers called them “c*nts,” a “flipper” (slang for prostitute) and a “sow.” One man posted a photo of a “bedazzled vagina.” Another wrote: “I can’t stand these crusty c*nts.”

Chinery first heard about the harassment from her flight service manager, but after filing her complaint, Chinery alleges that, after filing her complaint, she faced retaliation, including threats of discipline and repeated drug and alcohol tests. “My manager called me, then failed to take any action to stop the problem,” Chinery told SavvyStews. “No apologies from anyone, just an escalated attack.” AA’s Human Resources failed to even respond to Medlin’s complaints for many months.

Instead of disciplining the men, AA ultimately promoted two of them to positions in the training department. One is now working full time at American’s headquarters, training flight attendants for their annual airworthiness qualification, where he has the ability to pass or fail female flight attendants. The promotions gave another man access to Chinery and Medlin’s personal information and schedules; he knows where they are, what hotels they are staying in and other information that could compromise their safety.

Meanwhile, the men continue to insult their female co-workers on social media. At least 11 other American female flight attendants have reportedly been bullied and harassed by their male co-workers. This behavior was apparently not bad enough for George H.W. Bush-appointed Judge Eduardo C. Robreno to allow the case to go to trial. Robreno dismissed the combined suits in September, ruling that the behavior was not severe or pervasive; Chinery and Medlin have filed an appeal in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Unlike office workers, flight attendants don’t see each other every day, transforming social media into a main means of communication—the new “virtual water cooler,” where co-workers talk and exchange ideas. What happens on social media has a direct impact on employees’ work experience. “Given the unique nature of social media, the harassment our clients experienced was all-pervasive and impossible to escape,” Faye Riva Cohen, the women’s attorney, told the media. “We believe that the Judge failed to adequately consider the power of social media and its impact on the workplace.”

In addition to the harassment itself, American Airlines attorneys have subjected Chinery and Medlin to invasive demands for personal information—including their medical records, medications they take and medical conditions they have. They demanded records from a C-section, pap smears and mammograms. AA attorneys questioned the women about their finances and other personal matters, presumably hoping to dig up something shameful so they could pressure the women to drop the suit for fear the information would be made public; they even deposed Chinery’s 74-year old father.

The men, on the other hand, were protected, never having to produce any personal information in the lawsuit. Rather than protecting their female employees, AA’s former Chief Financial Officer invited them to his wedding.

Chinery and Medlin have spent decades working for American Airlines, but they have yet to receive so much as an apology for the harassment they have had to endure, and American has shared no plan with them to prevent this sort of behavior in the future. That means it’s up to all of the customers flying the word’s biggest airline to demand justice for its female employees.

If you fly American, contact the airline and ask them what they are doing to ensure that all women are treated respectfully in their workplace. Demand that they create a safe workplace, one that is free from gender-based hostility and harassment, and demand that the human resources staff respond promptly and effectively to complaints of harassment.

Do this for Chinery, Medlin and the thousands of women who work at American Airlines who can’t afford to fight back.

NBI SEMINAR MATERIALS: When is it Important to Fight an Unemployment Compensation Claim

I  had the great opportunity to lead (perhaps “teach”) a continuing legal educationseminar hosted by the National Business Institute.  The subject was “Human Resource Law From A to Z” and I had opportunity to speak on Unemployment Compensation.  I was joined by other capable attorneys who each had their own topics to present.

Although NBI published the materials, I retain the ownership of the portions I wrote, which I will post here in this blog.

Copied below are the materials I wrote for the section entitled “When is it Important to Fight an Unemployment Compensation Claim.”

Thanks!

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When is it Important to Fight an Unemployment Compensation Claim

As mentioned above, it is not atypical for an initial claim for benefits to be denied.  Two parties can contest an application for benefits: the employer and/or the Department of Labor.

When a claimant applies for benefits, the employer is alerted and is given the opportunity to supply the Department of Labor information about the claimant.  Often the information provided by the claimant matches that of the employer, but sometimes it does not, which could trigger a finding of ineligibility for the claimant.  Other times, the employer specifically provides information to the Department of Labor in order to prevent a successful application for benefits (e.g.: detailing the willful misconduct which led to the termination), which also typically triggers a finding of ineligibility.

There are times when the employer does not provide anything to the Department of Labor (or the information it provided agrees with the claimant), yet the claimant is still found ineligible.  In these cases, the Department of Labor makes a determination based on the application itself and, based on that alone, the claimant is determined to be ineligible.  For example, if the claimant has insufficient benefit weeks, and/or his application makes it appear he quit voluntarily, and/or he has a medical condition rendering him unable to work, then the Department of Labor could determine the claimant to be ineligible based on the information provided on the claimant’s application alone.

When a claimant is found to be ineligible for benefits (or when an employer’s ex-employee is found eligible) and one disagrees with the determination, one has a right to appeal the decision.  As noted above, it is critically important to file the appeal (via email and/or facsimile and/or mail) by the appeal deadline listed on the Notice of Determination, otherwise the appeal will be dismissed without consideration of its underlying merits.

It is almost always important to “fight” (e.g.: appeal) an adverse unemployment compensation determination.  Obviously, a claimant should appeal an adverse determination in order to secure benefits for himself.  An employer should appeal an adverse determination order to keep its costs down by avoiding paying out benefits for the claimant (more on this below).

A timely appeal of an adverse unemployment compensation determination leads to a hearing before a referee.

Texas “No Boycott of Israel” Law Held Unconstitutional

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

A Texas federal district court last week held unconstitutional the Texas statute requiring all state contracts for goods or services to include a written verification from the contracting company that it is not, and during the contract will not, boycott Israel. In Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District(WD TX, April 25, 2019), a Texas federal district court granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the anti-BDS statute or enforcement of any clause in state contracts barring boycott of Israel.  The court, in a 56-page opinion, said in part:

Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that H.B. 89 is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because it (1) is an impermissible content- and viewpoint-based restriction on protected expression; (2) imposes unconstitutional conditions on public employment; (3) compels speech for an impermissible purpose; and (4) is void for vagueness.

The suit was brought by five individuals who wished to contract, or had contracted, to provide services such as speech therapy and early childhood evaluations for a school district; translation of an art essay for a state University museum; judging high school debate tournaments; and providing podcasts for a public radio station. The court concluded that all of these were contracts with sole proprietorships, and were thus covered by the statute. Washington Post reports on the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Family Law Tip: Visitation or Custody for a Pet?

I post some tips regarding family to my Linkedin page (see here) from time to time, and I thought I should start sharing them here too.  Below is one of my family law tips, and you can read my articles on family law here and other posts on family law here and all are cataloged here.

American Airlines Flight Attendants Will Appeal Ruling On Facebook Sexual Harassment

The Melissa Chinery and Laura Medlin cases against American Airlines, cases currently being litigated by my firm, the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C., have been featured in an article entitled “American Airlines Flight Attendants Will Appeal Ruling On Facebook Sexual Harassment,” in Forbes b published on September 12, 2018, which can be found here.

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Two flight attendants who sued American Airlines, alleging that they were sexually harassed by male co-workers in Facebook postings, say they will appeal after a Philadelphia judge dismissed their cases.

Faye Riva Cohen, the Philadelphia attorney who represents flight attendants Melissa Chinery and Laura Medlin, said Tuesday that she will file in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in about a week.

“American Airlines is [generally] proactive in disciplining employees who do things that negatively impact the airline, but is dragging its heels in trying to enforce social media [policy] for their employees,” Cohen said.

“I feel [American] has no interest in social media policy,” Cohen said. “They just hang it out there.”

Cohen said the court did not adequately consider the new norms of the modern-day workplace, where social media has replaced lunchrooms and water coolers as sites where workers congregate, but bullying cannot be addressed face-to-face. “People are being bullied [and] there should be repercussions when that occurs,” she said, noting that flight attendants, who work with varying sets of co-workers, are particularly vulnerable.

The two flight attendants filed their case in March 2017 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.  At the time, Chinery was based in Philadelphia while Laura Medlin was based in Charlotte. Chinery has since transferred to the Phoenix base. Their cases were consolidated.

The insults were posted within a Facebook group, whose membership is limited to American flight attendants, by a group of four to five Philadelphia-based male flight attendants.

Medlin said she was harassed with insulting terms including “sow,” while Chinery said she was referred to as “flipper,” a synonym for prostitute. Both women said the harassment was related to union activities in support of leaders whom their harassers opposed.

U.S. District Court Judge Eduardo Robreno dismissed the cases on August 27, when he granted American’s motions for summary judgement.

In Chinery’s case, Robreno ruled, “Looking at all of the complained of behavior objectively, even that which does not appear connected to gender and instead appears to be related to Chinery’s stance on union issues, the behavior does not amount to severe or pervasive sexual harassment.”

He cited behavior by the four men including posting a photograph of a broken record; referring to Chinery as “flipper,” saying the defendant “did not present a good appearance to passengers [and] allegedly posting a picture of a bedazzled vagina.”

“The court concludes that the complained-of conduct was not so objectively severe or pervasive that it would unreasonably interfere with an employee’s work performance,” wrote Robreno. He was nominated for his post in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

Regarding Medlin’s case, Robreno wrote that she alleged sexual harassment on Facebook, between 2012 and 2015, including calling her a “sow” and a “mean girl.”

“While there are a number of serious questions that are raised by Medlin’s claims, including whether the alleged harassment over Facebook was due to her sex rather than her opinions regarding labor unions and whether it actually occurred in a work environment, it is clear that the alleged instances of harassment were not adequately severe or pervasive to establish American’s liability,” Robreno ruled.

American spokesman Matt Miller said the carrier, “is proud to foster a work environment in which all team members are respected.

“When American receives reports of alleged harassment in the workplace, those complaints are investigated and appropriate action is taken,” Miller said.

NBI SEMINAR MATERIALS: Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim

I  had the great opportunity to lead (perhaps “teach”) a continuing legal education seminar hosted by the National Business Institute.  The subject was “Human Resource Law From A to Z” and I had opportunity to speak on Unemployment Compensation.  I was joined by other capable attorneys who each had their own topics to present.

Although NBI published the materials, I retain the ownership of the portions I wrote, which I will post here in this blog.

Copied below are the materials I wrote for the section entitled “Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim.”

Thanks!

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Key Information to Present Regarding the Initial Claim

The information provided when making an initial claim ranges from very basic information about one’s employment to the causes of one’s termination from employment.

Nowadays the initial claim is typically done via the Department of Labor’s website, which can be found here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file/Pages/File%20an%20Initial%20Claim.aspx

Aside from the website, there are other options to apply for benefits:

  • By telephone: statewide toll-free number at 1-888-313-7284 (open call hours are 8a.m. – 4p.m. Monday & Tuesday, 12p.m. – 6p.m. Wednesday, 8a.m. – 4p.m. Thursday and Friday from 8a.m. – 12p.m.);
  • Services for the deaf and hard of hearing:
  • TTY: 1-888-334-4046;
  • Videophone: 717-704-8474 every Wednesday from noon to 4p.m.;
  • Paper Form: a paper application can be downloaded and mailed to the address indicated on the form.

It is likely obvious, but the basics about one’s employment to include on an initial claim are as follows:

  • one’s dates of employ (first day of work, last day of work, and final day on payroll);
  • one’s rate of pay on the last day of work;
  • the name, address, and telephone number of oneself and one’s employer;
  • one’s social security number;
  • one’s email address;
  • pension or severance package information;
  • one’s bank account for the deposit of the benefits (optional);
  • one’s own personal identification number (if there has been a prior filing) and the employer’s account number (if known);
  • the cause of separation.

Describing one’s cause of separation is critical as certain causes of separation can render one ineligible for benefits (as described above).  As a result, a claimant must be judicious and precise when describing the cause of termination.  Unfortunately, the application only gives a few options (in a pull down menu if applying online) and these options are often overbroad, imprecise, and/or give the wrong impression as to the actual cause of separation.  One may offer an explanatory statement, but claimants often have insufficient space and write without consideration of legal consequences or precision.  Due to the limitations of the application process – and the difficultly claimants have in fully explaining the cause of their termination – it is not uncommon to be denied an initial claim.

Family Law Tip: Bankruptcy and Family Law

I post some tips regarding family to my Linkedin page (see here) from time to time, and I thought I should start sharing them here too.  Below is one of my family law tips, and you can read my articles on family law here and other posts on family law here and all are cataloged here.

NBI SEMINAR MATERIALS: General Rules on Who is Entitled to Unemployment Compensation

I  had the great opportunity to lead (perhaps “teach”) a continuing legal education seminar hosted by the National Business Institute.  The subject was “Human Resource Law From A to Z” and I had opportunity to speak on Unemployment Compensation.  I was joined by other capable attorneys who each had their own topics to present.

Although NBI published the materials, I retain the ownership of the portions I wrote, which I will post here in this blog.

Copied below are the materials I wrote for the section entitled “General Rules on Who is Entitled to Unemployment Compensation.”

Thanks!

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General Rules on Who is Entitled to Unemployment Compensation

  • Three Aspects of Eligibility

Eligibility for Unemployment Compensation is fairly straight forward.  The key element to keep in mind is that Unemployment Compensation benefits are designed to provide a source of income while someone is between jobs.  To that end, first, as directly implied by the name, one must be recently unemployed.  This is the most basic element of eligibility.  Upon being unemployed, there are three basis factors of eligibility.

First, one must have sufficient income during one’s base year.  A base year is the period of time that comprises the four quarters immediately prior to the quarter that precedes the quarter in which an application for benefits was submitted.  For example: if one’s application is submitted sometime in the months of July, August, and/or September of 2018, then one’s base year begins in April 2017 and ends in March 2018.  One must have sufficient qualifying income during the base year to ensure eligibility; this is calculated as follows: the amount of income required for eligibility is determined by using the base year quarter with the highest income (the so-called “High Quarter”) as a guideline.  In other words, one cannot have earned all of one’s income in a single quarter in the base year to be eligible for benefits.  At least thirty-seven percent (37%) of one’s income must be earned in one or more quarters other than the High Quarter.  For example, if one’s High Quarter was $63,000 then one must have at least $100,000 in total qualifying wages in the base year.  If not, then one would not be eligible for benefits.

Second, one must be available, able, and willing to work.  Being “able” to work in this context is rather literal.  It addresses whether one is physically and/or mentally capable of working.  If one is separated from his employment due to a physical or mental disability or injury and is rendered unable to work at all, one cannot receive Unemployment Compensation benefits as he is unable to work.  As long as the Claimant can work some job, even if it is not the job he left, he can still be eligible for benefits.  To that end, one must be actively engaged in searching for a job.  Relatedly, if one refuses suitable work when it becomes available, then one is rendered ineligible for benefits.

Third, and perhaps counter intuitively, how to determine eligibility is, perhaps, best explained by elucidating what makes one ineligible for benefits.

The most common causes of ineligibility are: (1) voluntary termination; (2) willful misconduct; and, (3) being an independent contractor (and/or self-employed).

 

  • Voluntary Termination

Voluntary termination of one’s employment refers to someone quitting his job.  One cannot voluntarily quit his employment and collect benefits.  Put conversely, one has to be terminated from employment involuntarily.  Customarily, an involuntary termination is due to things like a furlough or lay off, downsizing, and/or an employment relationship that simply did not work out.  By contrast, a voluntary quit typically refers to things like quitting to take a new job, to go to school, to retire, and/or to move to a new locale, among other things.  If someone voluntarily terminates his own employment, then he is ineligible for benefits.

Three general exceptions to “voluntary termination” as described above are a hostile work environment, a change in working conditions, and a disability of some sort (as described above).

For example, if someone is a target of sexual harassment, discrimination, or even general mistreatment, and feels compelled to quit to escape the hostile work environment, then such termination would be considered constructively involuntary.  In other words, even though on its face it appears the employee quit his job voluntarily (as he was not fired or laid off, etc), if the working environment is so bad that a reasonable person could no work in it, the quit is considered involuntary as no one should be expected to work in such conditions.

Second, a change in working conditions includes things like a significant change in location, hours, or compensation.  For example, if the location of one’s job moves fifty (50) miles away, then that would be a substantial change in location to render continued employment extremely difficult if not impossible.  Quitting one’s job due to such a relocation is not considered voluntary.  An important caveat to this general rule applies when someone, despite the relocation, elects to try and tough it out for a time.  If someone continues to work for an extended time despite the relocation, his eventual quit could be considered voluntary (and render the employee ineligible for benefits) as the relocation did not make it immediately impossible to work.  Similarly, being laid off due to the work being seasonal, or due to a work lock out, constitutes involuntary termination rendering the claimant eligible for benefits.  Relatedly, if someone quits his job to accept another, better, job (or part-time to full-time) and that new job unexpectedly falls through, then that would not constitute a voluntary quit.

It is important to keep in mind that quitting one’s job to go to school, accept a retirement buy out, look for other work, start a business, and/or participate in a union strike, constitutes voluntary termination to render one ineligible for benefits.

Finally, as briefly mentioned above, there are times when a physical or mental disability or injury causes one to be unable to perform his job.  If that disability/injury renders one unable to work any job, then one is ineligible for benefits; however, if that disability/injury renders one unable to work one’s current job, but still able to work others, then one could be eligible.  For example, if someone is a construction worker, and hurts his foot and cannot stand for long periods of time, he may have to leave his construction job, but could work another job where he could sit (e.g.: a desk job).  In this case, his quitting the construction job would be considered involuntary (as he would still work there but for the injury), but as he is still able to work, he is eligible for benefits.

 

  • Willful Misconduct

As mentioned above, being involuntarily terminated is an element of being eligible for benefits, and forms of involuntary termination include furlough or lay off, downsizing, and/or an employment relationship that simply did not work out.  By contrast, however, another form of involuntary termination, which does not lead to eligibility, is termination due to willful misconduct.  To put it in more common parlance, one is not eligible for benefits if he is fired for cause.  Willful misconduct is rather self-explanatory: it is to willfully break a work rule and get fired as a result.  If this occurs, the employee who is terminated due to willful misconduct is ineligible for benefits.  There are a couple of narrow exceptions to ineligibility due to willful misconduct.  First, if the misconduct is not particularly egregious, and only happened once, then it is possible to be eligible for benefits despite the termination for the misconduct.  Second, if the misconduct was the result of mistake or error, then it would not be considered “willful” and, therefore, the terminated employee could be eligible.  Third, if the work rule that was broken is inconsistently applied or enforced, then it is possible a termination based on that rule would not be considered willful misconduct as a result.  Finally, if violating the work rule was for a good or justifiable reason, it would not be considered willful misconduct.  For example, a delivery company may have a rule prohibiting its trucks from being used for personal reasons.  If a driver of one of those trucks had a medical emergency, or, say, learned that his child was having a medical emergency, and diverted from his route due to that emergency, one could argue that the breaking of the rule was not “willful,” but rather due to a reasonable response to an emergent situation.

 

  • Employee or Contractor?

In order to be eligible for benefits, one must have been someone else’s employee.  If someone is self-employed, or is an independent contractor, then one is not, or has not, been someone else’s employee and, therefore would not be eligible for benefits if the work being done by that person is somehow terminated or concluded.

The obvious question is how one can determine if someone is an employee or a contractor (or self-employed).  Some (alleged) employers do not maintain a payroll (but pay their workers through standard checks instead), and some do not pay for supplies, while still others provide little oversight.  What is the status of those who work for these alleged employers?

In order to determine whether someone is an employee or a contractor, the Pennsylvania Courts use the following two-part test to determine whether an individual is self-employed (i.e.: independently contracting): (1) is the claimant free from control and direction in the performance of the work? and, (2) is the business one that is customarily engaged in as an independent trade or business?

To determine whether an individual is free from the control and direction of an employer in the performance of work, the Unemployment Compensation referees and Pennsylvania Courts frequently look to eight (8) factors.  No one factor is determinative as to whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor, and the Court generally considers and weighs all eight (8) factors in the employment relationship.

The eight (8) factors that are considered are as follows: first, how was the job was performed?  Specifically, it is more likely that an individual is an independent contractor if he sets his own hours, creates his own work/task agenda, and/or decides how many other workers are needed for a particular task.  Second, is there was a fixed rate of remuneration?  Who decides the cost of the services being provided?  Who decides when/if raises are granted?  A worker who establishes his own pay rate and decides when his own pay rate increases or decreases is functioning more like an independent contractor than employee.  Third, are taxes deducted from the claimant’s remuneration?  It is more likely that a worker is an independent contractor if the worker receives a 1099 form and is able to deduct expenses and be responsible for paying his own taxes.  Fourth, does the alleged employer supply the tools necessary to carry out the services being provided?  If the worker must provide and use his own tools to carry out his tasks, it is more likely to rule that the worker is an independent contractor.  Fifth, does the alleged employer offer on-the-job training?  If an alleged employer provides on-the-job training, it is more likely to rule that there is an employment relationship.  Sixth, are there regular meetings with the alleged employer?  Regular meetings generally will signify an employment relationship.  Seventh, will the claimant suffer risk of loss when claimant’s expenses exceed income?  In other words, if the business fails, will the alleged employee merely lose his job, or will the alleged employee have the responsibility to satisfy the business’ potential creditors.  If the alleged employee merely loses his job, and has no responsibility to address the business’ creditors, then it is likely that he is an employee rather than an independent contractor.  Eighth, is the claimant compelled to look only to the employer for further employment?  If a worker regularly sought and/or acquired the same or similar work from other sources, while already engaged with an alleged employer, then it is likely that the worker had independent contracting relationships with his employers.

The explanation typically given for why a self-employed person would not be eligible for benefits is the risk of benefits fraud through the hiring and firing of oneself in order to collect benefits.

One minor exception to the above is the so-called “sideline activity.”  It is not uncommon for someone to work a full time job as an employee but, in his spare time, earn a few extra dollars doing a sideline activity.  For example, someone could work a typical 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, job, but on the weekends work a few hours doing landscaping or wedding photography or the like as a sideline activity.  If this person lost his day job involuntarily, his sideline activity would not cause him to be ineligible due to self-employment.  Relatedly, losing the sideline activity would not constitute being unemployed sufficient to be eligible for benefits.  The main pitfall regarding a sideline activity is if the hours spent at that activity expands beyond being merely a “sideline,” and into one’s primary source of income.  The typical situation where this would occur is if one loses a day job and, in order to cover one’s bills and expenses, expands out the sideline activity to more hours.  Suddenly, a sideline activity – which would have no effect on eligibility – would convert someone into being self-employed and, therefore, ineligible for benefits.

It is worth noting that, by statute, someone who works for a religious institution (e.g.: a clergyman), someone who works some agricultural jobs, and someone who works for family, among a handful of other categories, are not eligible for benefits regardless of how or why they are terminated from employment.

Finally, unemployment compensation follows strict deadlines.  If one misses an appeal deadline – even by one day – it will render the claimant ineligible for benefits for the benefit weeks for which the benefits are applied.

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